A-Drama: Never Have I Ever (10/10)

Never Have I Ever on Netflix is my new favorite show. Too bad I finished it (insert very sad face). Now I have to hope beyond hope that they have a sequel on the way. Or I can impatiently twiddle my thumbs until I forget most of the plot line so I can watch it again (my personal rule for re-watching movies and shows).

The show is great because it’s really, really funny. I wouldn’t expect less from producers and writers including Mindy Kaling, a guy who wrote for The Onion and a guy who worked on Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who is America. I laughed through every single episode.

It’s also heartfelt. And it’s a teeny bopper rom-com, which is where my heart lies entertainment wise a lot of the time – probably because I enjoy them. but don’t get that personally invested (except for Dance Academy, that was a 150% investment lol).

Never Have I Ever starts off with a dramatic scene where the main character Devi’s father dies in front of her and she becomes paralyzed for months after that. This is definitely not the way a comedy usually begins, but it shares just enough of Devi’s heartbreak for viewers to understand her angst and empathize with her, even when she’s in the wrong.

Devi is a funny, loudmouthed, first in her class teenager who swears and says indecent things on the regular. She is an Indian American that relates a little more to American culture and considers her mom to be overbearing and overly critical.

Every episode is Devi trying to find her place in the world, more specifically her high school and the LA valley where she lives. Devi is also navigating friendship, how they work and how they survive with her two multicultural teenage dork friends.

What Devi wants more than anything is the school stud Paxton and she does some crazy things to try and get him. She also has an arch nemesis, her rich, obnoxious, academic rival Ben.

What sets this apart from other teeny bopper shows is definitely the humor. It’s a little raunchy, so if you’re under 16 be aware. And there are scathing jokes thrown in that are completely nuanced, so I don’t know how many people will get them. One of my favorites is when Devi tells someone that her volunteer experience includes reading Bill O’Reilly books to veterans. This is hilarious if you know that some American veterans love the former Fox News Host and his bestselling novels even though the books are trash and he is a total perv and %$&@#.

There is also a lot of mainstream humor. Usually it’s when Devi says something without meaning to, like saying “damnnnn” out loud when her school crush sits down in front of her in class (damnnnn in the catcall whistle you’re pretty hot kind of way) or a scene with a coyote that I won’t give away. I especially loved Devi’s cousin Kamala mentioning that all the Riverdale actors were really the same age as Devi’s mom since I rant during the shows and on this blog about how old high school and college age actors really look, example: Noah Centineo who has to be at least 35.

Also the show has narrators, including Andy Samberg and someone totally unexpected. Listening to them do crude teeny bopper talk is hilarious.

Here is a preview:

Truly, this show is sooo good. As mentioned above I give it 10/10 and recommend it 100%.

K-Drama: Itaewon Class (7.9/10)

This drama had promise. So much promise. If you have ever read my blog posts you know that I love Park Seo Joon’s acting. I will ride or die for him if anyone questions his artistic talent. That’s why it’s hard for me to say that despite his acting this drama made me mad and I wouldn’t watch it again if you paid me.

The acting by Park and the rest of the cast was good. The production value was also high. And the beginning was interesting and made it seem like the drama would be a good one. These are the reasons why I have rated it as high as I have.

Here is a summary of the show from Mydramalist:

Park Saeroyi’s life has been turned upside down after he gets expelled from school for punching a bully and his father is killed in an accident. Following his father’s steps, he opens a pub named “DanBam” in Itaewon and, along with his manager and staff, strive towards success and reaching greater heights.

What the summary fails to mention is that this show is about revenge.

The first quarter of the show centers on what happens that makes the lead character Park Saeroyi want revenge and who he wants it against. And his crush on a girl that he gets to know.

The next quarter is about how he works towards getting revenge which involves opening a pub that he staffs with a motley cast of characters, one of whom is in love with him.

The third quarter is about his growing revenge success and the forth is the culmination of all of this.

I was fairly into the show, although not addicted until quarter three when I wanted to throw it out a window. Basically the beauty of Park Saeroyi, that made him worth rooting for was that he was ethical and principled and would adhere to his principles no matter what it cost him. He loyally loved the same woman for over a decade, he stood up for anyone he felt was oppressed and he chose people over immediate revenge.

Then all the sudden he threw that side of him away, except that I can’t tell if that was meant to be a moral to the story. It doesn’t seem like it. More like the writers had him transition to be an unethical disloyal, revenge over everything type person while pretending he wasn’t. I haven’t read the manga it is based on, so I don’t know.

Worse than all of this, the lead/second lead female was AWFUL. I don’t know if I have ever disliked a character more, outside of some really evil sageuk ministers or evil moms of chaebols. She was described as a sociopath, which seemed right based on her behavior. She was a fairly bad friend, bigoted, although she would eventually see the error of her ways, but only because of Park Saeroyi who she was in love with.

It wasn’t really clear, minus his strong sense of ethics, why the ladies liked Park Saeroyi who wasn’t a great communicator and had one of the worst haircuts I’ve ever seen. And he didn’t disrobe like Park Seo Joon’s other characters have, so it wasn’t about his muscles. But they did like him – a lot. What is less clear is why anyone in their right mind would like this girl. She was a 20 year old running after a 30 year old, crossing serious boundaries to do it and being a godawful human the rest of the time. How any writer, director or producer thought that I would ship her with this guy or even root for her is beyond me. She is the kind of person that I cross the street to avoid IRL.

All I can say is that I ended this show after episode 14 of 16. Near the end of the episode I actually thought that I wouldn’t fault a guy for pushing Park Saeroyi into a street and in front of a speeding car. In fact, the show could have ended like that and I would have given it a better rating. That’s when I knew I was done.

I read the summary of the last two episodes, which helped validate that I made the right choice.

K-Drama: Hi, Bye Mama (1st Impressions)

This is a drama on Netflix about a woman who dies and becomes a ghost. As a ghost she spends years watching her husband grieve and then re-marry, and her daughter, who was born the day she died, grow up. When her daughter is in kindergarten something happens to her and as a result the woman gets 49 days to come back as a human.

I LOVE this drama more than I can say. The main theme is grief and dying , but it is sweet and fun and funny – and sad.

Most of characters are torn about what they should be doing. The husband has a new wife so he doesn’t know how to properly communicate with either woman. His first wife, the main character doesn’t know who she should reveal herself too and how she can be a mom to her daughter when her daughter doesn’t know her and her stay is only temporary. She also has to save her daughter from some trouble. The new wife doesn’t know that the first wife is back from the dead, but meets her, a woman who looks like her husbands deceased wife who has an attachment to their child, and is not sure how to handle it. She is also having some trouble communicating with her husband and with the mean treatment that she gets from the other neighborhood moms.

There is also a cast of characters who are all ghosts that live in a crematorium together. They don’t want to go to the afterlife because they want to continue to be there – in spirit – for their living family members. They all interact with a shaman who can’t bear to make any of them move into the afterlife if they don’t want to go. Although they mostly drive her crazy.

This drama will make you laugh. There is a scene with a sliding glass door that makes me laugh every time I think of it, and so many other scenes that I laughed my way through. And there are great sismances and bromances that are enjoyable to watch. And NO villains, which is so refreshing.

This show will probably make you think about the value of life and how you will be remembered when you are gone. It might make you cry. I think I’ve gone through at least one box of tissues so far because death can be so unfair to the people who pass away and the people they leave behind. This is illustrated in the main story and most of the side stories that are told.

You may also end up addicted to this show. I am. It is so hard to wait week after week for new episodes because it ends on the best cliffhangers. I am halfway through it now and already know it will be going on to my list of favorite shows of all time.

Drama Burn Out? Please Help

K-Drama, C-Drama, J-Drama, T-Drama, Th-Drama, A-Drama, UK-Drama burnout?

I am genuinely wondering if I am having drama burnout. I usually watch in the moments when I am home after a hectic day or week (which is every day and week) to relax and be entertained. I watch a lot of Asian dramas but really I watch shows and movies from all over the world. As long as they are interesting, fun and/or funny I’m in. I have a long My Drama List list of plan to watch shows, but somehow I haven’t been able to settle on a show. Maybe I am burned out or my attention span has become so small it’s invisible or maybe the shows I have left to watch just aren’t as good. I’m not sure.

This week has been a little crazy because I was sick and now I am working to make up for the work I didn’t do while I was sick and there is nothing I would like more than a great drama I can kick back too. Maybe one I can watch on the weekend since we have a house rule that Saturdays are lazy days where we don’t get out of our pajamas if we can help it. But I HAVE NOTHING TO WATCH 😲😲😲

I am currently watching one great Taiwanese drama which is a billion episodes as usual. I love it but am not always in the mood for it. I also have another half dozen shows I have been shuffling between that are varying degrees of good.

One show I want to watch is Itaewon Class, but I know if I start watching before the final episode I may get addicted and I am a complete fail at waiting patiently for new episodes to air, same with the Thai BL drama that is ending in March. So what else is there? New? Old? Asian? American? European? Australian? African? South American? Anarctican, I’ll even take that.

For reference my fav (type) shows are comedies al a Arrested Development, Coming to America and The Big Boss, competition shows and movies and dance dramas like Dance Academy and Dirty Dancing, slice of life dramas like Fight for My Way, romance such as This is My First Life and Some Kind of Wonderful, Romance slice of Life’s like Coup de Foudre, K-Historicals like Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Mr. Sunshine and Rebel and any good action movies with obvious villains and badass good guys/ladies.

If you have a show you recommend PLEASE tell me because I’m dying here.

TY,

Rachel

A-Movie: PS I Still Love You (7.7/10)

This is the sequel to the movie To All the Boy’s I’ve loved before. They are both books by Jenny Han and are now movies on Netflix. The lead character is Koraen American, as is the author so this isn’t straying that far from my regular reviews.

I did not do a review of the first one so here is a very brief review and synopsis of it: It’s a high school movie. The lead female, Lara Jean wrote love letters to all the guys she had crushes on, but wasn’t planning to send them. Then her sister sent them out 😲. One of the guys Lara Jean liked was a Lacrosse player named Peter who got one of the letters which lead to them talking which led to then pretend dating so he could make his ex, Lara Jean’s former friend jealous and keep her crush from realizing she was crushing on him. And of course they start liking each other. The end.

I liked it since I am a sucker for exactly this type of movie. I liked the lead girl and the plot, although it was slightly formulaic. I did not like that the lead “boy” Peter who was supposed to be in high school was played by an actor who looks like he is 30. It was weird.

On to the second movie

In this one Peter and Lara Jean are now in a new relationship and having to figure it out as they go. Lara Jean has never had a boyfriend before and is insecure about Peter’s ex who eggs her insecurity on a little since they have become pretty solid frenemies. Lara Jean also heard back from one of the boys she sent a letter to, possibly her favorite of the bunch who seems to like her back. In the first movie, the boy was a Caucasian brunette yet somehow in this one he is African-American. The wonders of movie magic.

Lara Jean finds herself in a love triangle while still worrying about the ex and this is the major challenge the couple faces.

I like the fact that the movie looks at the start of a new relationship and its challenges,. But I felt that Lara Jean basically fed the love triangle and led both guys on a bit, which I did not like. She even did the same thing to one of them that had hurt them in the past- something they had previously confided to her. Peter was also kind of dumb at reading signals.

There were good parts to the movie, but it didn’t end on a high note for me since I felt that both leads were not the kindest people they could be and didn’t seem all that compatible to me. And Peter still looked 30 :/. That said, when the next installment comes out I will probably watch it and hopes that it is a little bit better than part two.

C-Drama: Ghost Bride (7.8/10)

I recently watched the show Ghost Bride, which is airing on Netflix. The preview was interesting enough to make me want to watch it.

Summary:

A young woman in 1890’s China is in love with one man from a very rich family, but his cousin who is dead forces her to marry him by threatening the life of her father. Her dad was especially dear to her because she had already lost her mother. The woman comes in contact with a policeman from Heaven who is after the ghost and they work together to try and stop him. During that time the woman ends up in some sort of afterworld purgatory and will die if she doesn’t stop the wedding from happening.

The best parts:

  • The actors were good
  • The special effects were great
  • There were some funny moments
  • There is a mystery whodunnit that wasn’t easily solvable
  • It’s a short drama (thankfully)

Things that were’t great:

  • The young woman had no empathy for the guy she was in love with or his cousin. I get that being forced into a ghost marriage will make you hate your fiance, but they guy, as bad as he was, actually liked her and clearly had a messed up upbringing. I felt a little sorry for him and thought he could change his perspective given some effort, but she clearly didn’t and preferred to see him rot in hell (not a figure of speech).
  • She was also forgiven for doing something that I thought wasn’t easily forgivable and she also jerked someone around in a way I didn’t like.

My recommendation

If you like fantasy and ghost dramas and good special effects than it’s probably worth watching, just don’t expect perfection.

K-Movie: Dream with Park Seo Joon & IU is coming out in 2020 (Can’t wait!)

This movie looks like it will be soo good! Not only is it two of my favorite actors but the plot looks very entertaining.

Plot summary:

Yoon Hong-Dae (Park Seo-Joon) is a soccer player. He becomes involved in an unexpected case and, because of this, receives disciplinary measure. Yoon Hong-Dae is then appointed the coach for a special national soccer team. The team consists of homeless people and they have never played soccer before. Yoon Hong-Dae and his team compete in the Homeless World Cup.

Right now the projected release date is December 2020, which is sooooooooooo far away.

Can’t wait. Can’t wait. Can’t wait.